102OEC’s This Week in Trees

This week we have 34 news items from: British Columbia, Washignton, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Michigan, Texas, Ohio, Vermont, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, USA, Canada, Africa, Kenya, Brazil, Peru, India, and Indonesia.

British Columbia:

1) The Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP) strongly objects to any softwood lumber agreement that prohibits BC from managing its own forest policy. The current softwood lumber agreement, which includes language that limits BC from adjusting its own forest policy, is being rushed to completion in an effort to beat a June 15th deadline. The ABCFP fears that not all voices are being heard in the rush. “There are a number of issues unique to BC to which the provincial government must be able to respond in a timely manner,” says ABCFP president Bob Craven. Issues like forest health, such as the mountain pine beetle; global warming; forest fire fuel management; and land use planning, require constant monitoring and adjustment. The ABCFP also believes that the provincial government must be able to adapt forest policy to address issues of forest stewardship and industry competitiveness. Without the ability to adjust forest policy, the provincial government will be handcuffed. While it would be difficult to know the exact impact on BC’s environment and economy it is unacceptable to not be able to make policy changes to address changing views of society in the management of this significant public resource. “We urge the federal government not to negotiate away the provincial right to make forest policy. Being able to adapt to issues to ensure the long term sustainability of the forest and the industry in BC must be of paramount concern,” stressed Craven. http://www.abcfp.ca/about_us/news_events/news_releases.asp

2) The majority of the 24 protesters arrested for attempting to block construction of a road through West Vancouver’s Eagleridge Bluffs will be back in B.C. Supreme Court on June 21 to face contempt charges. Two others who can’t appear that day are to appear July 12. Twenty-three of the 24 people charged appeared in court Friday. The missing protester was represented by his lawyer. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=6d6d5fa8-783c-4cb9-afda-60


3)Back in the 1960s, Bowhay worked with crews that clear-cut mountainsides using chain saws and hand saws to cut through huge old-growth trees. Friday, he watched as a tractor extended a 50-foot arm to grab a tree, cut it down, limb it and cut it into sections in just a few minutes. The operator was thinning the forest of hardwood trees, leaving behind a selection of fir, spruce, cedar and hemlock. “That’s pretty handy, it looks like,” said the 68-year-old Bowhay of Whatcom County. But with the expensive machines and the thinning method, he wondered if the loggers were getting enough value out of the trees. He and nearly 100 other people learned about logging and forestry practices as part of the 23rd annual Woods Tour, sponsored by the Whatcom County Chapter of the Washington Women in Timber. The event precedes the annual weekend-long Deming Logging Show. The taxable value of timber harvested on public and private timberland in Whatcom County last year totaled about $22 million, according to the state Department of Revenue. That’s compared with the $133 million worth of timber harvested in Grays Harbor, the biggest producer in Washington. Statewide, the taxable value of timber was about $1 billion, according to Department of Revenue statistics. http://news.bellinghamherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060610/NEWS05/606100336

4) Fir trees will make way for huckleberry bushes under a plan being considered on a 70-acre site on the east side of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Foresters are planning to thin trees from an area along Forest Road 41 on the Mount Adams Ranger District, a high-elevation area known for its prodigious huckleberry fields. Thanks to a successful history of fire suppression and a serious reduction in timber harvesting, the problem is this: There too many trees shading out the huckleberries. “We’ve restricted fire on the national forest, and huckleberries are primarily enhanced by fire,” said Cynthia Henchell, a planner for the ranger district in Trout Lake. “What we’d like to do is just try to open up the stands again, take away the competition and introduce fire on a limited basis.” Henchell said the area, a previously logged-over stand on the south side of Mowich Butte, has now become crowded with a new overstory of Douglas fir and vine maple. The Forest Service is planning to offer a contract to thin about 600,000 board feet of timber, resulting in spacing of about 28 feet by 28 feet between trees. Foresters then will light a controlled fire to clear the slash and stimulate regrowth of the sunlight-loving huckleberries. Because the area is within a roaded area intended for recreation, the agency is not conducting a full-blown environmental analysis of the project. http://www.columbian.com/news/localNews/06112006news35046.cfm


5) A timber company paid $300,052 for the right to log 261 acres of standing dead timber that was burned in a 2002 fire in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Gov. Ted Kulongoski said he would seek a court order blocking the harvest, based on a lawsuit that Oregon, Washington, California and Mexico have filed challenging the legality of the administration’s rules. He had earlier asked the Forest Service to delay Friday’s sale. Environmentalists warned that the sale could set a dangerous precedent by opening the door to logging on nearly 60 million acres of national forest.The timber industry and Forest Service said logging the area would speed the regeneration of the forest, but environmental groups said leaving things to nature would produce a healthier forest. “The bottom line is the Bush administration is focusing on unraveling environmental protections,” said Lesley Adams of the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center. The Clinton administration severely restricted logging in roadless areas, but a federal judge in Wyoming overturned the rule in 2003. In 2004, the Bush administration adopted new rules that gave states the option of opening roadless areas to logging. Only two bidders took part. The winner, the Silver Creek Timber Co. of Merlin, went more than $64,000 over the minimum bid. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1152AP_Timber_Sale.html


6) Several hundred people are expected for Wednesday’s hearing in Santa Rosa on a project that the Sierra Club calls “the biggest project of the last decade.” The proposal, which would change land-use designations for about 600 acres by amending the Del Monte Forest coastal plan, has sparked statewide debate over its impacts to the world-famous Pebble Beach area and its native Monterey pine forest. The debate pits many environmental groups against the resort company whose owners include actor-director Clint Eastwood, retired golf legend Arnold Palmer and businessman Peter Ueberroth. They say the plan — one of the most fiercely debated coastal projects in recent history — would violate the state Coastal Act. Opponents maintain they have “science and the law” on their side, but allege that eleventh-hour political maneuvering by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez could affect the commission’s decision. “Given the staff report, any deviation from it would be political,” said Tom Lippe, a San Francisco attorney for the state Sierra Club. The company’s plan calls for a new 18-hole golf course — which would be the ninth in the forest — a new driving range, 160 new hotel units at the Pebble Beach Lodge and Spanish Bay, 33 new home lots, 60 employee housing units, a relocated equestrian center and various roadway changes. The stakes are so high that a Sierra Club representative said some commission members came under political pressure late last week from Nuñez, who appoints four of the panel’s 12 members. On Thursday, Nuñez asked his appointees to nominate new alternate members, a move that could put a new pro-development alternate on the panel for Wednesday’s hearing, said Mark Massara, the Sierra Club’s coastal programs director.”It’s outrageous and appalling,” he said. “They lose under any fair and balanced legal argument.” Massara said it’s legally questionable whether Nuñez could appoint alternates without consulting with commissioners. “He’s already jumped the gun,” he said. A lengthy June 2 commission staff report outlined several reasons for the commission to reject the land-use changes sought by the Pebble Beach Co. Much of the project area is “environmentally sensitive habitat” for native Monterey pines and rare plant and animal species. The Coastal Act requires protection of such areas. The report says the proposed golf course would require cutting down more than 10,000 pines and eliminate 36,000 Yadon piperia, an endangered plant under federal protection. http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/local/14793556.htm

7) A Bush administration official will review a new plan that increases logging levels in the Sierra Nevada, adding another twist to a decade-long fight over the future of national forest land in California’s most famous mountain range. The review by Agriculture Undersecretary Mark E. Rey opens the possibility of further revisions to a plan that has been criticized by the timber industry for not allowing enough logging and by environmentalists for allowing too much. “The undersecretary didn’t give me any reasons for doing a review other than to say he was doing it,” said Dan Jiron, national press officer for the U.S. Forest Service. Jiron said Rey had reviewed other forest plans in the past, typically making minor changes. “Would he rewrite the decision entirely? The answer is no,” Jiron said. But Rey could send the plan back to California for extensive modifications. The plan Rey has chosen to review is itself a revision of a wide-ranging set of protections adopted for the Sierra’s 11.5 million acres of national forest land during the Clinton administration. Those guidelines de-emphasized commercial timber harvesting, set aside 4 million acres of old-growth reserves where only small trees could be cut, and relied heavily on controlled burning to reduce the risk of wildfire. http://www.tahoebonanza.com/article/20060609/Environment/106090024

8) We believe that the quality of life in Humboldt County is threatened by unsustainable practices in the pursuit of private profit. To create a more sustainable community, we need leaders and officials with vision and a committment to long-term strategies designed to keep Humboldt County a desirable and livable place for future generations. The momentum in winning the initial Paul Gallegos for District Attorney campaign in 2003, defeating the Maxxam-funded D.A. recall campaign a year later, turning away the LNG proposal in April, 2004 and winning the elections of Chris Kerrigan and Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap in November 2004 inspired us to formally establish Local Solutions Political Action Committee, a political action committee for the people. Local Solutions PAC seeks to protect and enhance our quality of life by recruiting, advising, supporting and helping to elect candidates for local public office who will work together to ensure civil and human rights, democratic local control of schools, land use, development and planning, sustainable economic development, and appropriate and equitable levels of basic social services to all citizens in Humboldt County. 1) Local Solutions PAC calls for the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to bring Maxxam and Pacific Lumber CEO Robert Manne to the table to explain the fiscal fraud which is forcing unsustainable logging in our watersheds and which is causing crisis in our economy. 2) Local Solutions PAC calls on our Supervisors to begin developing a survival plan today for Pacific Lumber workers and their families for the time Maxxam finishes destroying our timber industry, and Charles Hurwitz walks away with his billions. 3) Local Solutions PAC supports our District Attorney’s efforts to determine how much timber Maxxam cut in endangered watersheds by fraud, and we support collecting the maximum possible damages from Maxxam to mitigate the cost to our workers, our watersheds and the residents who have been injured by Maxxam/Pacific Lumber policies. http://www.localsolutions.org/plMaxxam.htm


9) “The grasses are just like a wick. It just carries these flames from one plant to the next,” said state forester Kirk Rowdabaugh. The non-native plants are faster-growing and have an easier time taking hold of the burned areas, he said. Massive wildfires in the desert are a recent problem. “The Sonoran Desert was never designed to burn,” Willard said. Desert plants have grown far apart for thousands of years, preventing large desert fires from spreading. It wasn’t until recently that areas below 3,000 feet in elevation were invaded with nonnative grasses, filling the bare spaces with fire fuel. Today, the charred skeletons of tree branches still brand the landscape. Pale saguaro cactuses sit hunched along the roads, and large vacant swaths of dirt are speckled by small green patches. While grass and some shrubs have started to return, it will be at least five years before it looks like a desert again, experts said. Large trees won’t come back for at least 10 years, and saguaros may take decades. “It will take a long time, if ever, for some of these type of vegetative communities to recover,” said Jim de Vos, chief of research for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “And it may never fully recover to the same condition it was before the fire.” The loss of thick vegetation also chased wildlife from of the burn area. “Gradually, as the vegetation starts to rebound from the fire, wild animals start coming back in,” de Vos said. Deer and coyotes return quickly, but saguaro nesting birds will take the longest, he said. The regrowth has helped subdue the increased risk of flash flooding that destroyed public recreation areas and killed two people shortly after the fire. http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/index.php?sty=67483

New Mexico:

10) Forest Guardians, the Santa Fe-based nonprofit environmental organization known for battling in court over U.S. Forest Service projects, garnered one of the agency’s collaborative forest-restoration grants this year. The group was awarded $360,000 for a three-year proposal to work on closing some roads and creating fire breaks near communities in the Coyote Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest. The group will work with Coyote District Forest Service staff members, the Coyote community and local tree-thinning contractors, according to its proposal. The Forest Guardians plan is one of 27 restoration-grant projects the Santa Fe National Forest will oversee. A committee reviews grant proposals each April. Collaborative Forest Restoration Grants were established in 2000 by Congress for New Mexico. Projects funded under the grants must involve a variety of stakeholders from forest communities, provide local jobs, restore watersheds and reduce hazards from forest fires. Other three-year grants awarded this year went to: 1) Velasquez Logging in Youngsville, N.M.: $360,000 to treat 300 acres in the Mesa Poleo Wildland Urban Interface of the Coyote Ranger District. An estimated 50 to 200 tons per acre of usable, small-diameter timber will be harvested to provide jobs for the local community and education and outreach to 40 local high-school students. 2) La Jicarita Enterprise Community in Mora: $360,000 to treat 200 acres of the Upper Mora Watershed in the Walker Flats area of the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District. La Jicarita will hire local thinning contractors to use the harvested material for wholesale vigas, latillas, posts and chipped material for biomass fuel. 3) Santa Clara Pueblo: $359,656 to study, design and build a wood biomass-heating system for 35 new homes in Santa Clara’s South Housing subdivision. The system will use 210 cords annually of small-diameter trees and slash from ongoing forest-fuels-reduction projects in the pueblo’s Santa Clara Canyon. 4) Ohkay Owingeh: $359,966 to restore 157 acres of Ohkay Owingeh and Tesuque Pueblo bosque land along the Rio Grande and Rio Tesuque. The project also will monitor songbird populations before and after treatment to gather data intended to help minimize disruptions to bird populations and maximize the benefits of restoring lands near water. 5) University of Arizona: $321,132 for a forest-thinning and watershed-restoration project near Hyde State Park that is undergoing environmental review by the Santa Fe National Forest. http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/44871.html#

11) Environmentalists, Forest Service, and Industry Agree on New Mexico Restoration Principles. In May 2006, a group of conservation organizations, industry, scientists, and land management agencies agreed for the first time on a set of forest restoration guidelines for New Mexico’s National Forests. These guidelines will greatly reduce conflicts and lawsuits regarding thinning and other timber projects. The 12-group task force in New Mexico spent more than a year hammering out the guidelines after the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) asked how it could acquire a steady source of fuel for a biomass plant. The 18 restoration principles represent a compromise between the groups and include collaboration, using the least-disruptive techniques, and sensitivity to ecosystem and habitat conditions, including protecting older forests. The Forest Service and three other federal agencies, the state Land Office and Forestry Division, five conservation groups, PNM, and Restoration Solutions, a Corona timber company, endorse the principles. Forest Guardians, which has gone to court over thinning projects, agrees that following the guidelines would greatly cut the likelihood of challenges, said Bryan Bird, Forest Program Director for the Santa Fe-based environmental group. According to Bird and Todd Schulke of the Center for Biological diversity, had the Forest Service included these same principles in its 17,000-acre Tajique thinning plan in the Manzano Mountains in 2004 the project might not be stalled now. For more info contact Todd Schulke, Center for Biological Diversity, 505-388-8799. To read the guidelines: http://americanlands.org/documents/1148408495_NM%20Forest%20Restoration%20Principles.pdf


12) Until June 21, the Colorado Roadless Area Review Task Force will be accepting public comment regarding the protection of roadless national forest land, including 640,000 acres of roadless forest in the White River National Forest. Gov. Bill Owens assembled this task force and will report its findings to the Department of Agriculture. The roadless lands in the White River National Forest have two types of resources. First, they have recreational, aesthetic and environmental resources that, without roads, contain intact ecosystems and habitat as well as appealing places to hike, bike, raft, hunt, fish, camp, climb, photograph, observe and more. Second, these lands contain natural resources that could be extracted for short-term, economic gains followed by severe economic and environmental losses. My argument is that it is economically essential to our community – from Dillon to Rifle, from Meeker to Aspen – and environmentally essential to our globe that these areas be maintained as roadless. We must cultivate the recreational resources (by saying no to roads) and leave the extractable resources where they lie. Here’s why: Roads on Forest Service lands will invite logging and mining. Both are necessary to our nation but are not sustainable for our local economy. Resource extraction creates booms and busts (as has happened repeatedly in places like Rifle and Parachute) while recreational resource use is more consistent and sustainable.


13) TOWER — Adam Gust stood on the side of Black River Road and stripped away a portion of bark from an already-dying ash tree in Cheboygan County’s Forest Township. “We’ll take this tree down when we peel it, later,” the state emerald ash borer surveyor said. Emerald ash borers are invasive Asian beetles that already decimated 15 million ash trees across Michigan. The bugs feed in the cambium layer between bark and wood, which eventually kills the ash tree. State officials banned movement of ash firewood after it was determined to be the primary means by which the insect spreads. Officials also recommended not moving any type of firewood at all. Now surveyors with the Michigan Department of Agriculture are busy “girdling” detection trees near campgrounds, sawmills and other places where wood is more likely to be introduced from outside areas. “This year we’re concentrating on the gateway areas,” said Anthony Johns, an EAB crew leader with the state agency. http://www.record-eagle.com/2006/jun/11ash.htm


14) The catch? Currently there are no operational bio-energy plants in East Texas, where most of the state forest residue is created. And there’s a lot to do both on the education and research fronts, Taylor said. Taylor and Dr. Darwin Foster, also with Extension forestry, are already involved remedying the need for education as partners with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as the University of Georgia, and other southern region land-grant universities. The partnership is producing educational materials on how to “sustainably and economically manage, harvest and process woody biomass in the southern U.S.,” Taylor said. The products will include fact sheets, a video and distance learning courses. “Our target audience is (composed of) forest management professionals and forest landowners,” Taylor said. The idea is to collect and integrate available scientific information on woody biomass and make it assessable to the general public. Meanwhile some commercial concerns are already seriously considering using woody biomass for on-site energy production, Foster said. Delton Smith, site facilities manager with Abitibi-Consolidated in Lufkin, said his company is considering refitting the plant with a woody biomass fired boilers. The boilers would be used to generate steam, which would in turn be used to generate electricity. In 2003, the Lufkin plant was one of two Abitibi-Consolidated newsprint Texas plants closed due to high energy costs and dropping product demand. Before the closure, the plant employed more than 600 people. Now idled, it has a full-time staff of 12. http://www.ntxe-news.com/artman/publish/article_34688.shtml

15) Cameron Park, the oasis of wilderness in the heart of Waco, is under siege by beautiful invaders. Asian bamboo has scaled the hillsides where wildflowers once grew. Japanese honeysuckle has established a beachhead on the riverbanks, strangling tree saplings. Yard shrubs like nandina and ligustrum have infiltrated the deepest recesses of the 416-acre park. Baylor University environmental studies professor Susan Bratton says these “invasive species” are harming Cameron Park’s native vegetation and could result in the decline of the park forest. Bratton hopes to bring the issue into focus through an environmental study of Cameron Park. She and her students are beginning a project to map the vegetation in the park and study its natural history and human influences. In late 2007, they plan to publish a guide to the ecology and history of Cameron Park and make recommendations that will help city officials manage the park’s habitat. Environmental studies graduate students have been researching Cameron Park’s history over the last year using old documents and aerial photos and have done some exotic species removal. In coming months, they will take core samples of 50 or 60 trees to determine the age of various forest areas between Proctor Springs and McLennan Community College. Graduate student Sang Gao has been studying Japanese honeysuckle along the river trail that runs below the park cliffs. He said in his native China, the honeysuckle is kept in check by insects and animals that feed on it, but here it runs unchecked. “Many of the exotic species we see here are from East Asia,” he said.“This is the worst situation,” she said. “The bamboo is 100 percent of the cover. It’s a very difficult situation to deal with.” City of Waco officials say they have made some efforts to control the bamboo in Cameron Park. A few months ago, city crews and volunteers removed bamboo thickets around Proctor Springs. “What we cut down this winter was about 15 years of growth,” said Graeme Seibel, parks and recreation operations supervisor. Nora Schell, a former Cameron Park ranger who now operates the Lake Waco Wetland center, warned that removing exotic species too aggressively can make the problem worse. “We shouldn’t all of a sudden go clear it all,” she said. “Those plants are holding the soils in place, and it’s habitat for some mammals and birds. There are some that are serving a purpose.” http://www.wacotrib.com/news/content/news/stories/2006/06/10/06102006waccameron.html


16) BELMONT – Dysart Woods is home to some of Ohio’s biggest and oldest trees. The preserve in Belmont County west of Wheeling, W.Va., is the largest known remnant of virgin forest in southeast Ohio. It is hard not to be impressed by the imposing forest giants that are up to 4 feet in diameter and up to 140 feet tall. Many are 300 to 400 years old. You can explore 455-acre Dysart Woods — owned and managed by Ohio University as a land lab to study old-growth forests — on two color-coded trails: red and blue Together, the two trails form a rough figure eight and stretch about two miles, winding past about 100 forest giants, McCarthy said. In addition to the oaks, there are beech and tulip-poplar trees, but the oaks are especially stately. The biggest tree on the preserve may have been a tulip poplar — also known as a tulip tree — that was 64 inches in diameter and more than 150 feet high. It was struck by lightning in 1995. It stands like a ghostly skeleton on a ridge overlooking surrounding farmlands. The two trails are not long. They drop into moist, cool, shady ravines, perhaps 100 feet deep. The trails are well marked with red- and blue-topped posts and blazes. The giants are still standing at Dysart Woods because generations of the Dysart family kept the tract in its natural state. The giants are growing on steep slopes of ravines, and cutting them down would have taken extra time, work and money. The site has hardly been disturbed over the years. The Dysart family in 1962 sold the property to the Nature Conservancy. The university in turn bought property in 1967. The site was declared a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1967. Dysart Woods is also at the center of an environmental battle. The Ohio Valley Coal Co. and owner Robert Murray want to mine coal near and under Dysart Woods. The company first approached the university in 1988 about mining the coal. The university owns the land but not the mining rights. In 2003, the state approved a permit to allow the company to long-wall mine within 300 feet of Dysart Woods and to room-and-pillar mine under the woods. The company’s plans have been strongly opposed by the grass-roots Buckeye Forest Council and Dysart Defenders. They argued that the mining would disrupt water flow, damage the old-growth trees and violate state laws. In 2005, the mining project was approved by the Ohio Reclamation Commission, a seven-member state panel. That decision has been appealed to the Ohio ‘s 7th District Court of Appeals. http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/living/travel/14787307.htm


17) I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I saw the letter by Sherb Lang claiming that Aldo Leopold, a forester and one of America’s most celebrated ecologists, wrote that there is neither an economic or scientific basis for wilderness. In fact, Leopold wrote in “A Sand County Almanac” that wilderness offers a “base-datum of normality, a picture of how healthy land maintains itself as an organism.” Lang speaks approvingly of “science-backed forestland management.” I have great respect for scientists, and many dedicated people have studied forestry, ecology and conservation biology over the years. But so-called scientific forestry has been around for a century at most, yet it deals with ecosystems in which trees, the longest-lived component, can live 400 to 600 years in the Northeast, and much longer elsewhere. Some natural ecological cycles incorporate multiple tree lifetimes. In addition, scientists studying forests in the Northeast have been handicapped by an almost total lack of controls. There are no sizable areas of old growth forests in which to compare the results of management by scientists with management by God. Although old-growth forests covered about 80 percent of New England at the time of European settlement, no more than half of 1 percent is old growth now, and none of that is in really large tracts. Thus, none of us, including scientists, have the “base datum of normality” that a substantial resource of wilderness would eventually provide. Leopold and fellow foresters Bob Marshall and Benton McKaye understood that, which is one reason they were among the principal co-founders of the Wilderness Society. Anyone who says science fully understands managing forests is in the same position as a city person who planted his first crop a month ago and now claims to be an experienced farmer. Even after a whole crop cycle he would not be an experienced farmer. And for a Northeastern forest ecosystem, the equivalent of a single crop cycle is 300 to 600 years. http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060610/NEWS/606100312/1037


18) Seven members of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Milltown will be setting off for Kenya Thursday to plant a thousand moringa trees to reforest land that is fast becoming desert.The moringa tree has been called “a miracle tree” because it is fast-growing and drought-resistant. It also has many uses. These include: medicine, animal feed, dye, fertilizer, rope fiber and as an agent for tanning hides. The group from Limestone will join the Rev. Lyle Dykstra in Kikuyu. Lyle is a former Limestone pastor. He and his wife Terry are now Presbyterian Church (USA) missionaries in Kenya, where illegal logging and development have depleted 90 percent of the nation’s forests. The Kenyan government banned logging five years ago, but the country will continue to face a national disaster until the forest cover improves. No longer willing to be dependent on funding and assistance from government aid agencies, Kenya has turned to nonprofit organizations, such as the Presbyterian Church, for help, says Yvonne Tipton, a spokeswoman for Limestone. The Limestone group will stay overseas for two-and-a-half weeks. Besides planting trees, they will help build and furnish a small church. New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Middletown is sponsoring a two-room school for girls. The travelers are bringing supplies for both the church and the school. More than $20,000 has been raised for the effort. Ron Crick, head of the Limestone team, says there are 15 travelers in all. Others are from New Castle Presbytery, First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Holly, N.C., and local branches of the Assembly of God. http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060610/LIFE/606100303/-1/NEWS01

19) That we see the trees immediately around us as individuals rather than as part of a forest is not surprising in a state so closely associated with a single tree – the massive, wide-spreading Charter Oak, which has been venerated as a symbol of American independence for three centuries. When the tree fell in a fierce summer storm in 1856, its wood became akin to a religious relic and was subsequently carved into everything from goblets to pianos. Its descendants were distributed to celebrate the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth, the 300th anniversary of Connecticut’s Colonial Charter, the 1965 State Constitutional Convention and the American Bicentennial. Its image graces the Connecticut state quarter. Neighborhood trees need not be ancient nor humongous to become beloved, and efforts to save them from damage or destruction are often newsworthy. In 2004, public outcry saved three trees in front of the Hartford Public Library threatened by construction. Last year, a large weeping hemlock in Branford was carefully monitored when sewers were installed, and the silver maple slated for the ax at West Hartford’s Smith School engendered considerable controversy. Few people realize the variety of trees located within a few blocks of where they live, and a modest walk in any neighborhood beckons with intriguing discoveries. Several years ago, notable tree expert Ed Richardson and I took a stroll near my home in the center of Collinsville, an old mill village. In 10 minutes we had identified more than 30 species or varieties, including five types of maple and three kinds of spruce and oak. Getting to know the trees around us is the first step in valuing and caring about them. Such sylvan treasures can be found even in the heart of our cities. City parks, cemeteries and institutional grounds can be informal arboretums full of rare, unusually large and exotic trees. http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/commentary/hc-plclefftrees0611.artjun11,0,2946029.story?co


20) For as long as Ed Callahan can remember, the trees lining a scenic stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike that winds through the Laurel Highlands have stayed mysteriously twisted and bare. “Since I was a kid, I can remember wondering what the heck was wrong with those trees,” said Callahan, 40, now the director of forestry in Western Pennsylvania for the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Grass and wildflowers thrive in the area, but the trees die. Callahan blames road salt, although theories range from diesel fumes to gypsy moth infestations, and even a great fire. “If you ever drive behind a truck in the winter, you see those big clouds of salty mist kicked up behind them,” Callahan said. “When that salt gets on the branches, the trees get stunted, and a lot of times they die.” The mutant trees line almost 55 miles of turnpike east of Irwin, Westmoreland County. The worst are concentrated in a 20-mile long, 100-feet deep stretch straddling the border between Westmoreland and Somerset counties. Most are on state forest land. Trees that are still living sprout short, spiky twigs, called witches’ brooms, from their gnarled limbs. They become increasingly stressed and eventually die, Callahan said. The trees this year are in the worst shape that Callahan and many people who live along the turnpike remember. “There’s more dead every year,” said Rich Giles, 58, of Donegal, Westmoreland County, who has lived above the turnpike for 28 years. “There were some dead (trees) when I moved in, but this is the worst it’s been.” Winters in the Laurel Highlands are harsh. The elevation keeps temperatures about 10 degrees colder than in Pittsburgh, and wind from the west whips the often ice- and snow-covered ridge. As a result, the stretch of turnpike between Donegal and Somerset — serving 32,000 motorists a day, 35 percent of them truckers — is the most heavily salted in the state. Workers sometimes spread 800 pounds of salt per mile during a storm, said John Stewart, the turnpike’s director of maintenance.”We have a joke that there are two seasons in the Donegal-Somerset area — the Fourth of July and winter,” Stewart said. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_457551.html


21) COURTLAND — Scientists have discovered a remnant of the South’s ancient past — a virgin forest full of huge trees that probably set down roots long before Columbus found the New World. The 40-acre forest along the swampy Nottoway River is like no other place in Virginia, experts say. Bald cypress trees here may be more than 1,000 years old. One cypress is the largest tree in Virginia. Three smaller trees are the largest of their species in the country. “It’s a remarkable discovery,” said University of Arkansas geosciences professor David Stahle, an old-tree expert. Only “two one-hundredths of 1 percent” of the Southeast’s cypress-tupelo forests escaped the saw, Stahle said. The old-growth forest lies just below Courtland, about 80 miles southeast of Richmond, near a dead end at the Nottoway. The area is known as Cypress Bridge, but only rusted parts of an old bridge remain.Virginia would like to buy a roughly 650-acre tract, including the ancient forest, from its owner, International Paper. Talks are at an early stage. On Wednesday, eight people in canoes entered the Nottoway at Cypress Bridge, paddled about 70 yards upriver and then slogged through water and ankle-deep mud. The old forest lies in a slough, or inlet, that is often flooded, but the water was too low that day for paddling. Entering the cool, dark forest was like stepping back in time. Huge water tupelos and bald cypress trees, the botanical stars of Southern swamps, stood on wide bases that resembled hoop skirts. The trees were weathered and gnarly. Some assumed fantastic shapes. Other trees were hollow and big enough to step into. Crotches of trees sported tufts of resurrection fern, a plant that is brown when dry but turns green (or resurrected) after a rain. The forest was mostly quiet, with a few songbirds and tree frogs calling. The mud produced an organic smell that was rich but not offensive. There were virtually no mosquitoes. “There’s got to be 1,001 bat cavities in here, and they eat mosquitoes,” said Byron Carmean of Suffolk, a retired horticulture teacher. The hikers sloshed on to a tree that made everyone stop and stare. This was “Big Mama,” a monster cypress — 123 feet tall, with a base 12½ feet wide. It is the largest tree in Virginia. The group circled back, stopping to pay homage to a special water tupelo. Sixty-five feet tall, about 10 feet in diameter, it is a national big-tree champ. The oldest known trees east of the Mississippi are cypresses in a preserve on the Black River in southern North Carolina. They are at least 1,700 years old. Big Mama is larger than those trees, experts say. http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD%2FMGArticle%2FRTD_BasicArticle&c=

New York:

22) Of all the habitats around us, (lakes, fields, swamps, wetlands, forests), I think that my favorite is the forest. I love its flowers, moss, trees, and birds. My only problem is the abundance of leaves. I know that in the early spring I can hardly wait for the leaves to come out. Don’t get me wrong. All the various greens in the spring forest are beautiful. There is a problem though. It’s harder to see the birds when the leaves are out. Just today, I was walking on a trail in Watts Flats. I’ve been trying to learn more bird songs, because sometimes that’s the only way to identify a bird during this time of year. This morning I heard the whistling of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. It’s similar to that of a Robin. Two pairs of these come to my feeders every day, but it is much more exciting to see them in the woods. They eat insects, fruit and seeds. This one, today, was way in the top of the trees, which is usual. It finally moved, which is usually the only way you can spot birds when the leaves are out. What a beauty. The males are black and white with a red triangle on their breasts. I carried my camera, with the 300 mm lens, so that I could photograph birds. Wouldn’t you know it? This one must have known that. He sat behind a leaf with his head sticking out. That would not have been a good picture. The most important message that I want you to remember, is that we need to preserve woodlands. If I did not have a forest near me, I would not see these birds at my feeders. They are so spectacular compared to the non-native species such as the dull starlings, grackles, and house sparrows. Don’t be surprised by this next statement. We have Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Baltimore Orioles at the Jamestown Audubon Center and Sanctuary. So, come on down. The most important message that I want you to remember, is that we need to preserve woodlands. If I did not have a forest near me, I would not see these birds at my feeders. They are so spectacular compared to the non-native species such as the dull starlings, grackles, and house sparrows. –Ann Beebe is a volunteer at Audubon and spends Tuesday mornings with other great folks in the gardens. http://post-journal.com/articles.asp?articleID=3101


23) “Ultimately we might be able to quantify, and then profit from understanding, the benefits that good recreation facilities bring to other areas, like education, crime deterrence and international tourism.” [ARC President Crandall said] The Toolbox is the result of cooperation between six federal agencies, ReserveAmerica and the American Recreation Coalition (ARC). The Toolbox for the Great Outdoors contains information on sources ranging from retained fees – made possible for most federal agencies by the passage of a 10-year recreation fee authority in December 2004 – to grant programs modified by the August 2005 passage of SAFETEA-LU, major surface transportation legislation. http://www.tools4outdoors.us à Scott Silver: America’s public lands recreation policy is, as many know, being dictated by the recreation / tourism industry with considerable input from pro-privatization ideologues. The public has no say in this matter. The conservation community has no say. Some few recreation special interest groups do have a seat at the table — but no organization that cares about wildness or wilderness is represented. The public lands management agencies willingly accept the industry’s lead and together they are conspiring to create an entirely new public lands recreation paradigm. I STRONGLY encourage people who care about America’s Public Lands to explore the new website and to familiarize yourself with the privatization tools being used to bring about this transformation.


24) OTTAWA, June 9 /CNW/ – The International Council of Forest and Paper
Associations (ICFPA) announced the signing of an historic agreement by its global member companies. A leadership statement on sustainability was signed by 59 company CEOs and association presidents, representing some of the largest pulp, paper and wood companies in the world, during the second meeting of the ICFPA Global CEO Roundtable. “This is a significant victory for sustainability and for the communities that rely on the sustainable management of the global forest resource,” said Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and President of the ICFPA. “The forest products industry has an important responsibility to promote sustainable development objectives worldwide. Through this statement, ICFPA members have made a clear and strong commitment to sustainable development and to working with other stakeholders to ensure that environmental, social and economic benefits of our natural resources are available to current and future generations.” http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2006/09/c7977.html

25) Stephen Legault’s first experience with activism came as a teenager living in Burlington, Ontario. To make room for a highway, the government decided to clear a patch of woods Legault used as a refuge from a turbulent adolescence. Enraged, he pulled up all of the survey stakes one night to try and stop the construction. After repeating his futile protest a few more times, he was finally defeated when the survey team abandoned their stakes and made their markings directly on the trees. Soon after, Legault channeled his energy into starting a high school environmental club, and later a university group. The rage he felt over losing his refuge fuelled him. “I was the portrait of the angry young activist,” he writes. “The reason we’re angry at something is because we love something else,” Legault says in a phone interview. In Carry Tiger to Mountain, he writes about how activists need to replace their vocabulary of conflict — always struggling, wrestling, opposing, clashing and fighting — with one of compassion. Many social activists need to make some fundamental changes to the way they approach their work, Legault says. Rather than wasting energy raging against the machine or worrying the sky might be falling, he suggests activists look to a motivation they may have forgotten about: love. “As activists, we feel that we don’t have time to spend on the inner world because we’re spending all of our time on the outer world,” Legault says. “But if all we’re doing is working on the outer world without addressing what’s going on inside of us and what is guiding our action in the world, we will continue to fail as activists. And we are failing as activists right now.” Throughout his book, Legault’s passion for activism is evident. And so is his frustration with the mistakes he says activists keep repeating — mistakes he believes the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching may prevent. “We in civil society are very good at doing things — at inserting ourselves, sometimes aggressively, into the debate at every point. I’m suggesting that we are capable of acting more strategically, more effectively, if first we step back.” Legault points out that the activist community is filled with people — including himself during one period — who “have once been on fire and are now simply fried.” In Carry Tiger to Mountain he writes that burnout springs largely from activists not trusting others to help carry the load. http://thetyee.ca/Books/2006/06/06/ActivistsLearn/


26) The concept of eco-branding will be high on the agenda of an international conservation conference in Madagascar from June 20-24 which will focus on ways to harness Africa’s ecological treasures to boost economic development. Madagascar wants to imitate other African nations like Kenya, famed for its wildlife and scenery, and Latin American states such as Costa Rica, which have successfully “branded” themselves as eco-destinations. Rebranding is not just for those with a toe in the tourist market already. Madagascar is famed for its lemurs and Rwanda for its gorillas but few people know that the tiny central African nation of Equatorial Guinea — better known for oil, coups and corruption — is one of the world’s “primate hotspots.” The World Conservation Union says the country’s Bioko Island is vital for the preservation of primates because of its monkey populations, several of which are endemic. The forests of the mainland are also rich in biodiversity. In an attempt to rebrand the country, the government has pledged to protect a vast tract of rainforest in a preliminary accord signed in April with Conservation International. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema agreed to set aside a 500,000-hectare timber concession for conservation and put up $15 million to create a trust to fund the work. This would bring Equatorial Guinea’s protected area to 37 percent of its territory, the highest of any African nation. Obiang’s government has an unsavory reputation for repression, corruption and a failure to distribute its considerable oil revenues to the poor. But conservationists say it has taken a positive step on the environment. “You want to make sure there is a benefit to everyone,” said Jean-Christophe Vie, deputy coordinator of the species program for the World Conservation Union. “If you want to create incentives to protect biodiversity part of the income needs to go back to the local population.” http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=scienceNews&storyID=2006-06-12T013842Z_01

27) “Our ways of farming pollinated diverse seed species and maintained corridors between ecosystems,” he explains to an audience he knows to be schooled in Western ecological sciences. He then tries to fathom the strange version of land management that had been imposed on and impoverished his people, more than 100,000 of whom have been displaced from northern Kenya and the Serengeti Plains of Tanzania. Their culture is destroyed and they live in poverty because none of them was fairly compensated for their land. This has all been done, Saning’o says, in the interest of conservation, which saddens him, he says, because he truly believes that “we were the original conservationists.” Now he tells the room of stunned enviros, “you have made us enemies of conservation.” This was not what 6,000 wildlife biologists and conservation activists from over 100 countries had come to Bangkok to hear in autumn 2004. They were at the Third Congress of the World Conservation Union to explore new ways to stem the troubling loss of biological diversity on an ecologically challenged planet. Saning’o was speaking for a growing worldwide movement of native people who share a common plight in conservation. The movement began in 1920 when a small delegation of pastoral nomads showed up at the door of the newly instituted League of Nations. All they sought was recognition and some protection from this new international body. They were turned away. Undeterred, indigenous people from every nation have since been traveling in increasing numbers to international conventions like the Earth Summit in Rio and to the World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, in September 2003, where Nelson Mandela pled with conservationists not to turn their backs on rural economies, and to treat Africa’s native people as fairly as they would their own. Encouraged by his remarks, the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum, created expressly for the Congress, declared: “First we were dispossessed in the name of kings and emperors, later in the name of state development, and now in the name of conservation.” National parks, they said, were a good thing, but the parks-without-people approach to park management “is violating our rights.” Forced expulsions like the Masai experience were, some said, nothing short of cultural genocide. Others called it a classic taking. But they all consider themselves conservation refugees. http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/06/11/INGN7IIL3E24.DTL


28) Thousands of acres of Mau Forest are now in private hands following a shady deal involving top Government officials and well connected individuals. Details on how this conspiracy took place can now be revealed today by The Standard. Investigations reveal that Government surveyors and other officials conspired to acquire forestland by illegally extending the boundaries of five group ranches neighbouring Mau forest. This eventually led to loss of 14,103 hectares of forestland, which the rogue officers sold and issued the beneficiaries with fake title deeds without involving relevant Government departments. A report compiled after the investigation says the officials subsequently prepared new forest maps to conceal their actions. However, the Government has dismissed the fake maps and is now drawing new ones. The report, Maasai Mau Status Report, is authored by the Kenya Wildlife Service, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Ewaso Ngiro South Development Authority and the Kenya Forests Working Group. It recommends the prosecution of Government officials – including surveyors, land registrars and district commissioners – who it says flouted the law to illegally subdivide the forest and give it out to individuals. The Director of Survey, Joseph Mathenge, confirmed that eight officials, including three former land registrars, were under investigations and are likely to be charged. http://www.eastandard.net/hm_news/news.php?articleid=1143953862

29) Efforts to save Mau Forest have run into problems even as new studies show that an environmental disaster is unfolding. The livelihoods of millions of people who depend on the forest are threatened as rainfall patterns begin to change in surrounding areas. Rivers that originate from the forest are also heavily polluted. A recent study by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a conservation group, indicated that levels of phosphates and nitrates have reached dangerous proportions in the Mara River. The chemicals are released into the river when rainwater washes off fertiliser used by farmers who have invaded the forest. Soil erosion has also increased as the farmers clear the forest and leave large swathes of steep land bare. The worst victim of the destruction is the Maasai Mau Forest, which straddles Narok District. If rainfall continues to dwindle, it would have a devastating effect on agriculture, which is the economic mainstay for Kenya. Narok District, which currently has 64,000 hectares under wheat cultivation, is likely to be among the most affected. “If nothing is done, we are going to lose that wheat,” said Doris Ombara, a project officer with WWF. The effects are being felt across the border in Tanzania, where authorities are said to be concerned over the destruction of the Mau. An official said the country has asked Kenya to “take concrete actions” against the destruction of the Mau, failure to which it would seek intervention through the East African Community. The Mara River stretches into Tanzania and is a crucial source of water for Serengeti National Park. Said Narok District Commissioner Wilson Wanyanga: “Neighbouring countries are quite worried that the leadership of this area has abetted the destruction. We are getting embarrassed.” Ombara said fish farming downstream has been affected. A huge swamp at its source inside the forest is also receding. She said the study by WWF further showed that levels of mercury were too high in the river. “People have been talking about Mau forest for too long. What is required now is action,” said Ombara. But recent efforts have not succeeded as they have run into an array of problems. Many of the 10,000 people evicted from the forest by the government in May and June have since returned, witnesses say. http://www.eastandard.net/hm_news/news.php?articleid=1143953857


30) RIO DE JANEIRO – Police arrested 28 people suspected of operating an illegal logging ring in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest and were looking for 46 more, officials said. About 300 officers in five states were involved in Friday’s operation to shut down a gang accused of using phony permits to harvest rare tropical hardwoods. Three agents from the federal environmental agency and one member of the Acre state environment protection agency were among those arrested, police said. According to the Environment Ministry, the loggers cut 5.3 million cubic feet of wood worth an estimated $20 million over three years. “It’s a clear signal that the institutions are standing up to organized crime against the forest,” Environment Minister Marina Silva said. Silva said joint operations by the Environment Ministry and federal police had reduced deforestation by 31 percent in 2005 compared with the previous year. http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20060611/3033269.asp


31) The one-lane road from Wayqecha to Atalaya consists of a rutted dirt track etched into the slopes of the Peruvian Andes. A head-on calamity hovers around every blind turn. Where there ought to be a shoulder to allow for minor errors in steering judgment, there is nothing but air and the lush vegetation that clings to the precipitous backbone of peak after peak. The descent from Wayqecha’s 9,800 feet above sea level to Atalaya’s 1,300 feet takes four slow, bumpy hours by truck — plenty of time for an enthusiastic, bearded man from Fort Worth to describe in detail the biological relevance of this region of southeast Peru, where the mountainous cloud forests meet the tropical foothills of the Amazon River basin.Then, suddenly, the man is shouting to the driver. “Stop! Stop! Back up! ”Before the vehicle is still, the man barrels out the door and runs headlong toward the overgrown cliff side. “Holy c—p!” he declares. “That is unbelievable.” Staring back at him on a sturdy 7-foot stem are two purple-and-white orchid blossoms, each the size of a coffee mug. He retrieves his camera from the truck and starts shooting the flowers from a variety of angles. “Unbelievable,” he repeats as he slips back into the truck. “Awesome.” The man is John Janovec, 35, a research botanist with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, and he’s something of an Indiana Jones in the world of botany. For the past two years, he has made his home in this remote region of Peru, a one- to three-day trip from mountainous Cusco, where “voluntarily isolated” Indian tribes still shoot at intruders with poison-tipped arrows. He’s been here ever since a $2.3 million grant paved the way for Fort Worth-based BRIT’s ambitious plan: to map the ecology of some of the most pristine, least-studied and most biodiverse tropical forests on Earth. The official name of this endeavor is the Andes to Amazon Biodiversity Program (AABP), and its goal is nothing short of saving this essential landscape. http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/living/14789499.htm

32) Just how valuable are these forests? Along the meandering 245-mile journey from Cusco to Los Amigos, they harbor 15 percent of the Earth’s bird species, says Adrian Forsyth, a noted ecologist and founder of the Amazon Conservation Association, one of AABP’s chief collaborators. “It’s hard to think of any other place on the planet that would have more species for the same amount of area.” At Wayqecha (pronounced Why-KEY-cha), the researchers set up camp on a flat, cleared plot on the mountainside — courtesy of ACA’s one-time plans to locate a field station here. Workdays at Wayqecha begin at sunrise. Afterward, Repasky and her assistant, Martin Avendaño, a construction worker-turned-botanist set off to monitor her 47 orchid plots, with Quijano’s help. Janovec’s group will collect tree specimens so that he can describe the forests in which Repasky’s 150 or so orchid species grow. The work is tedious. The team will spend its days laying down a series of “Gentry transects,” named for the famed tropical botanist who formalized the procedure. This entails walking into a section of the woods and stretching a 50-meter length of yellow measuring tape from point A to point B. Starting at one end, botanists take cuttings from trees growing within one meter of either side of the tape. For a tree to be included in the collection, the diameter of its trunk must measure 2.5 centimeters on a caliper, about the diameter of a quarter. The tree’s height, diameter and GPS (global positioning system) location are recorded and the tree is labeled to the best of the botanists’ ability, usually down to the level of genus. Later, herbaria experts will put an exact species name to the specimen.“By doing these transects, it forces you to look up at the tree,” Janovec . I think it’s the only?.?explains. “It forces you to do the inventory. way to sample biodiversity. ”The work is also dangerous. In the jungle, where skinny trunks crane skyward for whatever sunlight they can snatch, collecting specimens often means having to climb trees to reach their lowest leaves. By the end of the expedition, the AABP team recorded more than 100 transects, made collections of more than 1,000 plants, “encountered 500 species and took about 3,000 images,” writes Janovec in an e-mail from Lima. But do all those numbers add up to saving tropical forests? Yes and maybe, says Brian Hayum, program manager for the Amazon Conservation Association. http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/living/14789499.htm


33) Meanwhile, as the current Orissa chief minister laments increased desertification in western Orissa, well-known environmentalist, Biswajit Mohanty, warns that mining is only contributing to it. If all the planned steel plants materialised, Mohanty warns that “the water supply from the Mahanadi, Brahmani and Baitarani rivers would have to go up”. Add to this global greenhouse gas emissions from future coal burning and, according to Mr Mohanty, “GHG emission from Orissa is estimated to jump to seven to ten per cent of global levels by 2010.” An article from the latest issue of “Ethical Corporation” touts Tata’s record for corporate social responsiblity. Although it deals a mild rebuke to the company for its failure to “defend” itself against accusations surrounding this January’s Kalinganagar masscre and a recent report criticising conditions at the company’s tea plantations, it completely ignores Tata’s extremely aggressive recent moves on indigenous lands and people. http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Action/press1103.htm


34) In April of 2006, Ecological Internet alerted the world to plans by the Chinese Olympic Committee to destroy ancient Papuan rainforests in Indonesia to construct facilities for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Since then our network has sent over one million protest emails to Chinese and Olympic officials, which even the authoritative Chinese government has been unable to ignore. In response the Chinese Olympic Committee has offered vague assurances that construction companies have “specifically prohibited the use of virgin timber”. But no independent proof is provided to back up these dubious promises. A country that hides the truth about Tiananmen Square and human rights is certainly capable of misleading regarding holding a “Green” Olympics. Chinese denial of using ancient rainforest timbers is therefore not credible without independent inspections and monitoring that verify this is in fact the case. Given the tawdry state of China’s own forests and the reality of huge imports of endangered timbers to meet domestic demand, it is highly unlikely construction of this scale (estimated to require millions of cubic meters of timber) could occur without using ancient rainforest timbers.

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